An employee’s dog had an unfortunate encounter with a skunk in the back yard recently. The poor pooch took the skunk’s full blast in his chest and face, leaving that unique fragrance in his fur and painful burning in his eyes. Then he ran through his owners’ home trying to escape the burn and odor and spread it everywhere, even in their clothing. The worst moment came when he jumped onto one of the kids’ beds and tried to rub the spray out of his eyes on the sheets.
“It happens more often than you might think,” says Steve Brown, Disaster One’s VP of Restoration. “And a little goes a long way.” It’s a pesky odor to kill and no, bathing the dog in tomato soup wasn’t enough.
How do you get rid of skunk odor?
Neutralizing skunk odor actually requires a molecular change. The skunk’s oily secretion has to be broken down into the different molecules that comprise the secretion. (Don’t worry, no science lesson today.) An oxidizing agent such as bleach or peroxide is needed to complete the task. If the odor has permeated an entire home or other structure, a professional restoration company trained in odor removal may be needed to get rid of it completely. But there are steps you can take on your own that could be enough.
Steve suggests the following mixture for cleaning affected surfaces:
• 1 qt of 3% hydrogen peroxide
• ½ cup of baking soda
• 1 spoonful of dish detergent
Thoroughly saturate affected surfaces to neutralize the secretion. (NOTE: this may not be safe for all surfaces; if in doubt, call a reputable restoration company.) And yes, Steve says this can actually be used to wash the dog.
Add heat and ventilation. Most surfaces are porous, and those pores can trap odors. Heat will open the pores, which helps to release the odor. Immediate ventilation will help move the odor out of the affected areas. Open windows and doors if weather permits, and use fans to bring in fresh clean air.
For clothing: launder clothes and any other soft goods with OxiClean or similar color-safe bleach.
Our co-worker came into the office the next morning and returned home armed with heavy-duty fans and Hydroxyl odor processors to help take care of the problem. Hydroxyl is a small molecule that can penetrate porous materials. Coupled with a high speed air mover, the Hydroxyl odor processor breaks down odors and decontaminates the air and surfaces. (If your odor problem is too much to tackle by yourself, a professional restoration company can bring an odor processor to get the job done.)
How long will it take to completely kill the odor?
That depends on how strong it was to begin with, and this one was very strong. “What a nightmare!” our coworker said. “I washed all our clothes with Oxi and washed the dog four times.” They ultimately picked up a container of skunk odor remover from a local pet store for some of the bathing. “I can’t believe all the stuff we’ve gone through these past few days.”
They kept the fans with Hydroxyl odor processors going non-stop for five days. They scrubbed their furniture and even bathed themselves with Steve’s concoction described above. They also used the mix to treat the spot in the back yard where the incident started, as the poor dog kept returning to the scented area.
All told, it took about a week for all the smell to go away. A less intense dosage would have taken less time, but this seems to have been the mother of all skunk moments.
If a skunk encounter happens to you, Disaster One’s trained technicians will utilize state-of-the-art equipment to remove the odor, clean surfaces, and have you smelling fresh again in no time. Visit us at www.DisasterOne.com or call us at 800-277-4787 to learn more.
Have you been on the receiving end of a skunk experience? How did you handle it? Share your experience in the comment section.